tv PBS News Hour PBS February 22, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: seven people were shot dead and dozens more were wounded in protests in afghanistan today after copies of the muslim holy book were burned at the main nato base there on monday. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight: we have the latest on the anger and the apologies from heidi vogt of the associated press in kabul. >> woodruff: then, two takes on coming primary battles. our own gwen ifill previews tonight's g.o.p. debate in arizona. and we talk with journalists micheline maynard and bill
ballenger in michigan. >> brown: from syria, we have two reports on the bombardment of homs that killed dozens, including two western journalists. plus, a rare eyewitness account of the weeks' long attack on the besieged city. >> reporter: free syrian fighters have entered the government security blding. it room-to-room fighting now, stairwell to stairwell. >> woodruff: margaret warner examines today's supreme court arguments in a free speech case involving a man who lied about getting the medal of honor and a decision on who owns montana's river beds. >> brown: and we close with today's ground-breaking on the national mall for the smithsonian's museum of african- american history and culture. >> what i'm interested in is taking this culture and using did as another lens to understand what it means to be an american. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on night's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> brown: afghanistan was tense with protests and religious fury today. the continuing fallout over the burning of korans by u.s. troops. at least seven people died in clashes with afghan security forces. hundreds of angry afghans streamed to protest sites across the country. they set fires, threw stones and voiced their rage at nato and american forces. >> ( translated ): these occupiers who disrespectedhe quran many times, in bagram, in guantanamo and in other places, should leave afghanistan. they are doing this to insult islam and muslims. we cannot tolerate this insult. >> woodruff: in some places, the protests turned violent. police said they were fired upon, and returned fire. it all started monday night north of kabul. afghan workers at bagram air base saw u.s. soldiers putting
korans and other religious materials from a nearby prison, into a burn pit for trash. by tradition, the koran, a holy text, is disposed of with respect, including by burial in sacred caves. as the protests began tuesday, the overall nato commander in afghanistan u.s. general john allen quickly issued a public apology. >> we are thoroughly investigating the incident and we are taking steps to ensure this does not ever happen again. i assure you, i promise you, this was not intentional in any way. and i offer my sincere apologies for any offence this may have caused. >> brown: at a briefing today, german general carsten jacobson speaking for nato said the investigation would be thorough. >> we have seen korans that were partly charred. it is a very vital part of the investigation that we find out what was the material, what was the reason for the decision to
dispose of it, who gave the orders, what was the chain, how did the material then go to the burn pit and what actually happened at the burn pit. >> brown: afghan presidt hamid kaai urged calm today, saying: nonetheless, the protesters' fury showed no sign of abating. a gathering outside camp phoenix-- a nato base-- essentially shut down the only road linking kabul and jalalabad. a short time ago i talked to heidi vogt of the associated press, in kabul. heidi, thanks for joining us. now, an investigation is promised, but what if anything is pe at tis point about the initial incident? why were the soldiers taking the korans to a garbage dump? >> reporter: we've had a few officials tell us anonymously that what was of concern was
some of these writings in the margins of some of these religious texts. some of these texts were coming in from pakistan and had extremist language. these were in the detention facility, and so the officials there decided they needed to get rid of these, and somehow deciding to get rid of them turned into taking them to the incineration pit, and that's where all the trouble started. >> brown: heidi, you're talking about writings in the koran, just fill that-- fill that in a little bit for us. what kind of writings are you talking about, and we know who was doing the writings that were found in these detention centers? >> reporter: that is a little unclear right now. what we've been told is that there were notes made on these religious texts. now, they're not all corns. some arether tracks. and it looks like it may have been messages between detainees
or somesometimes it may have just been extremist messages that are promoting very radical form of islam. >> brown: now, tell us more about how these protests have spread. what kind of impact is it having there throughout the country? >> reporter: well, yesterday, the first real day of protests, there were about 2,000 people protesting outside of the bagram aiase. today, we had at least four or five profipse prof-- provinces h protests. in the capital alone, there were three different spots with protests. they started to turn into riots. there were stones being thrown. there were fuel tankers set on fire in a couple places. police and protesters clashed. and we had at least nine people dead, dozens wounded, and so it really turned into something much more violent today. >> brown: now, of course, the u.s. and nato have apolized quily, an this comesashe
u.s. is setting about cutting back and trying to eventually end the involvement in afghanistan. can you tell to what degree they were taken by surprise or what is going on behind the scenes at this point? >> reporter: well, i mean, general allen did say he heard about this the same night that it happened. i don't think anybody expected that this would be the type of thing 10 years in that there would still would be mistakes being made about the treatment of the koran. everyone knows this is a very sensitive issue, and i think everybody is shocked that this can still happen in afghanistan. i mean, there are certainly accusations of desecration that happen all the time in this country. soldiers are told to be very careful going into mosques, this sort of thing. so it's surprising, i think, to everybody that it can still happen. >> brown: now, what of president karzai. we quoted him as calling for calm. is he also express, anger?
what kind of role is he playing at this point? >> reporter: we have en two things from karzai. he has called for calm, as you said, which happened this evening, late into the night after things had already calmed down he say the protesters should not get violent. he also said that police should be protecting protesters. but at the same time, he has used this as an opportunity to say, you know, we have been saying the afghans should be in charge of this detention facility, and if afghans were in charge, this type of thing wouldn't happen. so he's also using it as a political tool. >> brown: now, yo mention that there have ben some similar instances of this sort over the years. does this one feel-- does this one feel real different, of a different magnitude? >> reporter: well, this one is interesting in that it's clear that there was an error. there are often a lot of allegations on the part of
afghans, of koran desecration, but it's usually a case of he said/she said. here, nato officials have come out and said, "yes, this happened. we did something wrong. of." they're trying to get out ahead of it, obviously. it's-- and so in that sense, it does give an opportunity, possibly, for some sort of calm way of dealing with it. we don't know if it's going to work. the last time there was confirmation of a koran burned was a year ago in florida by a pastor, and then we had mobs up in northern city that killed 12 people. sit could get pret bad >> brown: so from where you sit tonight, is there an expectation of any sense of what happens tomorrow in the coming days? >> reporter: well, it could go a couple of different ways. the investigation may come out
with a finding as early as tomorrow. that could have a calming effect. at the same time, we've had the cleric's council saying if people aren't held responsible, nato forces are the ones who should be held responsible for all these deaths. so you could see more anger tomorrow. also, sometimes news spreads slowly in afghanistan. we might see more of a reaction in other parts of the country tomorrow. today, most of this was in eastern afghanistan. we don't know if we might see more in the west or in the south. >> brown: heidi vogt of the ap in kabul. thanks so much. >> reporter: thanks. >> woodruff: still to come on the "newshour": the republican contests in arizona and michigan; the deadly assault on the syrian city of homs; arguments and a decision at the supreme court today and the new museum in washington. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: a team from the u.n.'s nuclear watchdog agency
ended a two-day mission to iran today with little to show. the goal had been to discover whether iran is close to developing a nuclear weapon. but the delegation's head said talks with iranian officials failed to yield any significant progress. he spoke in vienna. >> we discussed the possible military dimensions of iran's nuclear program. we also tried to get access to a site that is relevant for our investigations. so we approchedhis trip in a constructive spirit. unfortunately we could not get agreement on either of them, so we could not get access and we could not finalize a way forward. >> holman: the nuclear agency's board will have to decide on its next step, when it meets early in march. meanwhile, iran's supreme leader -- ayatollah ali khamenei -- insisted today his country is not seeking to develop nuclear weapons. he called them useless, harmful and dangerous. the fitch rating agency downgraded its rating for
greece's bt again today, despite the new euro-zone bailout package. and wall street closed lower, partly over concerns about greece. the dow jones industrial average lost 27 points to close at 12,938. the nasdaq fell 15 points to close at 2,933. president obama called today for cutting the corporate tax rate to 28% from 35%. his plan would replace the lost revenue by eliminating dozens of existing tax loopholes. it also would set a minimum tax on overseas earnings of u.s. firms to encourage them to bring those revenues home. white house press secretary jay carney said the plan should have broad appeal. >> we believe that the reception so far has been positive and will be positive, because it does what so many people say is important to do, which is-- and this is democrats and republicans-- which is lower the rate, broaden the base, eliminate the underbrush of
unnecessary subsidies and loopholes and special provisions that complicate the tax code. >> holman: immediate republican reaction to the plan was mixed and it's viewed as unlikely congress would take up a major tax overhaul before the fall elections. nearly 50 people were killed in argentina today when a commuter train crashed at a buenos aires station. at least 600 others were injured. officials said the train was packed with morning riders and going too fast when it smashed into a barrier at the end of the platform. emergency workers rushed to treat the injured, and to free those trapped inside the crushed cars. it was argentina's worst rail accident since 1970. divers searching the wreck of a cruise ship off northern italy have found eight more bodies. authorities said today one was that of a five-year-old italian girl. the costa concordia had some 4,200 passengers and crew on board when it hit a reef in mid-january. it listed badly and settled on its side.
in all, 25 bodies have been found. seven people remain missing. a major study confirmed today that having a colonoscopy can save lives. it found that removing pre- cancerous growths found during the exams can cut in half the risk of dying by colon cancer. colo-rectal cancer is the second leading cause of death by cancer in the u.s. the research was published in the "new england journal of medicine." those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: the twentieth and perhaps final republican presidential debate takes place tonight in mesa, arizona. the two leading contenders for the g.o.p. nomination were out campaigning ahead of this evening's encounter. former massachusetts governor mitt romney spoke this morning in chandle where he called for a 20% cut inncome tax rates. former pennsylania senator rick santorum, meanwhile, addressed a tea party rally in tucson. and our gwen ifill is in phoenix tracking the developments.
hello, gwen. so we understand a lot of arizona republicans have already voted. what does this race look like right now? >> reporter: well, it's very interesting. the secretary of state here has said that about 178,000 people have already voted. they got their ballots some weeks ago, starting february 2, an if, indeed, theyote fore thislastsantumstring of victories last week, that the conventional wisdom has it that mitt romney would have benefited from this. he's been strong in all the polls in arizona. there has been some closing with rick santorum in the las week or so. but the truth is rick santorum has absolutely no organization that anybody can identify here in arizona. he came and campaigned here yesterday, went to a couple events, some of which it seemed the attendees were setting up the chairs and setting up the event itself. , whereas mitt rney has a very organized camign at work here and that often makes a difference when people are not deciding at the last minute, which is, of course, the
definition of an early voter. >> woodruff: gwen, what about advertising? what are the messages being either thrown back and forth or that the voters are getting a chance to hear? >> reporter: well, in a moment you're going to hear in michigan they can't turn on the television without seeing advertising. that is not true here in arizona. there is exactly one ad i have seen that appears with any kind of regulator on local television nd it's a romne superpac ad, not even a romney campaign itself, and it's attacking rick santorum. rick santorum, as far as the naked eye can tell, hasn't been on the air here at all. there hasn't been the undercurrent of negativity and advertising, at least not on the air. mitt romney is outspending rick santorum 10 times in terms of that kind of advertising. this is not that kind of campaign. so much is being condensed not only with what's happening in the last week with the last-minute appearances by these candidates, but also this debate tonight in mesa. >> woodruff: what out that ebe, gwen it's been,hat,
four weeks almost since the last republican debate? what is the expectation at this point? what do people think is riding on this? >> reporter: judy, admit it. you've been missing these debates haven't you. >> woodruff: i have! >> reporter: you have been waking up at night shaking thinking why aren't they on my television set? they'ring if to be going to be there tonight. and it's going to be the four men on the stage. not only mitt romney and rick santorum in the center seats, but also ron paul and newt gingrich, neither of whom is doing well in arizona but as you know, this kind ofdeba tonight isot ging be ju for the folks of arizona. it will be broadcast nationally. these candidates are really trying to aim beyond this state. they're trying to change those last-minute mind in michigan. but also, in all those super tuesday states still to come. we're going to watch how they respond. it's really interesting to me in arizona where, for instance, border security and immigration is such a big issue, how little you hear the candidates talking about it. rick santorum managed to go through two events yesterday
barely mentioning it, even though he did today in tucson. mitt romney gave a speech today in which he spent the entire me aacking th president's tax-reduction plan and promoting his own but not only not talking about local issues but not even talking about the people he's running against, rick santorum owe newt gingrich or ron paul. so they are all shooting above the heads in some respects of the voters here, hoping to get broader attention where it's going to count as those delegates begin to pile up. >> woodruff: just quickly, gwen, how much interest are republican voters paying? given, as you said, e heavy focus on mchig? >> reporter: they're very flattered in arizona to finally have any attention paid here. as you know, they moved their primary on the calendar, trying to get more attention. and this year, they got that attention, partly because of their governor, who, of course, famously shook her finger in the president's face and railed against the idea of federal intervention here in arizona, and partly because of this new
shift in discussion about conservative social issues. and there is such a socially conservative undercurrent here-- a lot of mormons in arizona, and a lot of christis and home school who are drawn to this ebaten way they maybe had not been before. so there's going to be a lot of attention paid. >> woodruff: or own gwen aisle, thanks very much. for more on how the michigan primary is shaping up we're joined from ann arbor by micheline maynard, senior editor of "changing gears" a public media project about the industrial midwest. and from east lansing, bil ballenger. he's editor of the "inside michigan politics "newsletter. it's good to have you both back with us. mickey maynard to you, first. you've watched this stat of michig foro long. how dohe race look to you right now? >> reporter: well, it looks like romney is get, closer. a coup of weeks ago, a week or so ago, two polls came out showing rick santorum was ahead and i think it sent shockwaves through the romney campaign.
since then, we've had a deluge of mitt romney, mitt romney's memories of growing up in michigan, mitt romney ads in which he's riding a carp in michigan, and i think he's trying to hammer home the point that he's from here and he wants to win this state. so it looks like he's getting ever so much closer to hanging on to the ld here. >> woruff: biallenger, if romney is coming back into the lead, how do you explain it? what's-- what can he-- what does he owe that to? >> reporter: he had some very positive ads starting out last week that mickey just mentioned. he also had some negative ads against rick santorum. he has not pulled substantially into the lead here. it's virtually a tie. i mean, there have been a couple of polls in the last three days that have shown mitt romney ahead by two points with the rest undecided pretty much and within the margin of error. that's a heck of a lot better than a week ago but he's not out
of the woods yet. >> woodruff: bil ballenger, staying with you, tell us, again, who are the republican voters of michigan? where do they live? what do they care about? who are they? >> well, half the population, roughly, in michigan lives in the metrodetroit area. the three big southeastern counties, wayne, oakland, and macomb, a few fringe counties down there, and the rest of the population is spread over 83 counties. western michigan, around grand rapids, ottawa county, heavily conservative christian, a lot of fundamentalists voters, maybe tea party activists there. that is a kind of treasure trove of votes for somebody like rick santorum who, i think, looks at metrodetroit and knows that mitt romney has a slight advantage there, maybe a big advantage, because that's where the auto industry is. that's where mitt romney is from. his farther was president of
american motors. that's where mitt romney grew up. that's where his name romney is best known. so rick santorum has got to win this race out-state and in west michigan. >> woodruff: so given that voter landscape, mickey maynard, what is the economy looking like? how are voters -- these republican voters feeling right now? >> well, the state mott poe of michigan translates as if you seek a pleasant peninsula look about you. and i've been joking lately that the state motto should be, "it's better than it was." the economy has settlown. we don't have the high double-digit unemployment numbers that we did at the depths of the recession, sail in 2009. in fact, the unemployment number is actually right around where the national number smaybe a little better. but one of the reasons for that is so many people have left the state in search of jobs. the auto industry is profitable again, and that looks really, really good in the headlines. there is hiring going on, but those jobs that are coming back
are paying a lot less and the benefits are a lot less generous than the jobs tha went away. so things arecalmg down. but there's a long, long way for the state to go before it's back to where it was in 2008, and it may never get back to the boom days before that. >> woodruff: bil ballenger, both of you have mentioned the auto industry. it is a huge fact north state. the fact-- speaking of that, the fact that both mitt romney and rick santorum were opposed to the federal bailout of the auto industry, how is that playing out? this contest? >> fascinating question, judy. you're solutely right. an ad has just come out from a santorum superpac-- now there's smug haven't heard of before now-- basically castigating mitt romney for his position against the auto bailout by the obama administration. a little strange, since rick santorum has exactly the same
position. so i don't know how rick santorum, who is not supposedly connected with the superpac, is going to explain that if it comes up in the debate tonight. but that's fascinating. the other thing i'd say is a poll just came out last night, shwing that barack obama is way ahead of mitt romney in michigan now, by 18 points. that is over double the lead he's ever had in a poll over mitt romney dating back three years. a year ago, mitt romney led barack obama in the polls here in michigan. most people think that's because of all the negative publicity that has come out of mitt romney's and rick santorum's opposition to the federal bailout. that is a bailout that was popular among democratsnd independents. i don't think it's going to be much of a factor among republican voters will in the tuesday, february 28, primary. but in a general election, if mitt romney is the nominee, he's got a problem on his hands
because of that. >> woodruff: i hear you. and just to wrap up, mickey maynard, to what extent do you think this auto bailout issue is or isn't a factor for these republican voters next week? >> i think it's a factor for some of the republicans who are in, say, management at the car companies, because while i think republicans philosophically in gener opposed the bailout, rbs in michigan probably supported the bailout because it was their jobs that were at stake. and to sort of follow up on one thing bill said. mitt romney went very public in favor of letting detroit go bankrupt. rick santorum might have said the same thing in pennsylvania, but nobody in michigan heard that. so i think that is why the bailout is it bouncing on romney much more than santorum. >> woodruff: we thank you, both, micheline maynard, bil ballenger, thanks. >> brown: and now to syria, where the government intensified
its assault against the city of homs, raining down rockets and bombs on the opposition strong-hold. in all across the country, activists said more than 70 people had been killed today. among them were two western journalists, an american reporter working for the british "sunday times," and a french photojournalist. tim ewart of "independent television news" narrates this report. >> reporter: the bombardment of homs has again been relentles. syrian rebels said a short while ago that 35 people are known to have died today in the beleaguered suburb of babarama. many more bodies lie under the rubble. activist haled abu saba says that in this buldingwhere the two western journalists were killed, targets the rebels claim of a deliberate rocket attack. marie colvin of the "sunday
times" sacrificed helife to a career in which she excelled. a veteran of numerous war zones she'd lost an eye to a grenade blast in sri lanka. remi ajlich who died with her was a french photojournalist. paul conroy a "sunday times" photographer was among six people injured. and rami al saeed the syrian cameraman who recorded much of the violence was killed by shrapnel earlier. on news at 10 last night marie colvin talked of the horrors unfolding in baboramah. >> i think the sickening thing is the complete merciless nature. they're hitting civilian buildings absolutely mercilessly and without caring and the scale of it is just shocking. >> i don't remember marie ever saying that somewhere was too dangerous for her to go to. think the line for her was a lot further than it was for other of us.
>> reporter: in baborama where they have mourned too many dead there was this evening a desperate plea for help. >> we are pleading. no one will help us. all people see and know what we are suffering. but no one helps us. no one cares. >> reporter: tragically marie colvan a reporter brave enough to help convey that message to the world was killed as she worked amid the ruins. >> woodruff: and to a graphic account of the battle for homs, now in its 19th day. a french photo-journalist known as manny has lived and filmed inside the besieged city for the past month. his footage offers a rare glimpse of the conflict consuming syria. using manny's images, jonathon miller of independent television news tells the story of what's happening there. a warning: some of the pictures and the stories are distressing. >> reporter: they call homs the capital of the revolution. the revolt against president bashar assad has been going on for nearly a year but on friday the third of february his forces unleashed a ferocious bombardment of neighborhoods in
homs. a little girl and her brother both badly wounded. >> ( translated ): after crossing the road, the shell hit us. i fell down on the ground. but my cousin was still awake. after that i don't know what hit us. >> reporter: no one can bare to tell her that her father and youngest brother are dead. we're in bayada district. it's 10:00 in the morning. fighters from the free syrian army are engaged in a gun battle that started at 3:30 a.m. as they wait the mouizina is broadcasting a eulogy for a dead fighter, a martyr. a tense but momentary lull then it starts all over again. ( gunfire )
they're attacking the government security building across the road. muhabarat headquarters of the hated secret police. ( gunfire ) manny, the filmmaker, finds himself at the heart of the firefight. ( gunfire ) urban guerilla warfare like this is relentless and terrifying. the fighters appear fearless and take crazy risks. ( gunfire ) culdia district. right next to bayada two days earlier. residents pour into the streets to mourn 138 people killed overnight by government shelling. there aren't enough coffins for all those who've been killed, so men are simply wrapped in white shrowds. the atmosphere is highly charged.
an imam leads prayers for the dead. >> ( translated ): we pray for our martyred dead. shelling people is what cowards and scoundrels do. >> reporter: back at muhabarat headquarters the battle is raging. free syrian forces have detonated a bomb below the rooftop position where government snipers are trapped. after more than 12 hours, the snipers are still putting up a fight. casualty numbers are mounting. a mini bus ambulance and then a break-neck race to a makeshift field hospital.
there's little dignity in all this. friday is protest day. it's almost a carnival atmosphere. but it's a carnival of defiance, as the people of homs tell their president what they think of him. mothers, children, fathers and fighters. this mass of humanity dances for its hurriya, its freedom. an unstoppable energy, battling a seemingly immovable force. free syrian fighters have
entered the government security building. it's room to room fighting now. stairwell to stairwell. it's a humiliation for president assad. with bullets still flying, fighters make off with boxes of much-needed ammo. the mukhabarat secret police buildings been gutted as is the local post office. down the street is a long queue for bread. with parts of the city besieged you can no longer get to shops in neighboring districts. >> ( translated ): the citizens
are hungry for bread. this is the only bakery in the area. because the snipers are taking out more people than they need. this is why it's crowded. >> reporter: a couple of blocks away and you're in sebil district where many belong to the president's alowhite sect. they have not been attacked. homs now a patchwork dividing along sectarian lines. >> brown: a united nations spokesman said today its top humanitarian official will go to syria to assess the situation and call for urgent access to aid. according to the u.n., more than 5,400 people have been killed in the uprising that began 11 months ago. >> woodruff: and to the supreme court, where the question today was when does lying cross the line and become a crime? margaret warner has that story.
>> warner: today's case stems from a claim made in 2007 by xavier alvarez, an elected member of a california water district board. he introduced himself at a public meeting by saying he was a retired marine, and adding none of it was true. alvarez was charged with violating the 2006 "stolen valor act," which makes it a crime to lie about having received a military decoration. alvarez was fined, and sentenced to probation and community service. he appealed, arguing the law violated his first amendment rights. also today, in a case widely watched in the american west, the court ruled unanimously in favor of a montana power company in a dispute over who owns the riverbeds of three montana rivers. the justices threw out a state
court order that the p.p.l. montana company pay the state some $50 million for using the riverbeds for hydroelectric plants and dams. for more on both cases, we are joined by marcia coyle of the "national law journal." >> let's do the alvarez case, the stolen valor act. give us a little context here. when is lyi a crime and had is lying protected sech? >> well, lies are speech, the first amendment protects speech, but it doesn't plectall lies. for example, perjury, fraud, those are crimes. the first amendment doesn't protect defamation and libel. there are some exceptions but it doesn't protect them. but in all cases in which the first amendment doesn't protect a lie, it's because there's been a requirement that there be an swent to do harmo harm has occurred. that brings us to the problem with the stolen valor act.
>> warner: tl us how it unfolded today. the government would have been gone first here. >> the federal law does not have a requirement of harm. so the arguments here focus really on two issues-- the justices were very focused on one-- what harm is there from someone lying about having gotten a medal? and, two, if the government can make this type of lie a crime, where does the government's police power stop? what other lies can it make a crime? the justices peppered the government's chief lawyer, don verrelly, the solicitor general, with a number of hypotheticals. "chief justice roberts said, "what about someone who lies about having a hool diploma? congress could say we want people to finish hool, and so makes a law that makes it a crime to lie about that." other justices said what about lies about extra-marital affairs?
mr. verrelly stressed that this law is narrow, it's pointed, it requires a false-- a knowing false statement of fact about the person himself or herself. he also faced a series of questions about harm. justice soto mior said is this law really getting at the fact that we are upset? there's an emotional reaction when someone lies about having received a medal. she said, "i get upset when someone lies to me on a date, makes a claim about something that isn't true but what is the harm?" an again, mr. verrelly had to respond and say even though it's not written in the law th that there be harm, the harm is that there's budget a misappropriation of the esteem that goes along with these awards. he said very bluntly, the government's saying when we give these awards, it's a big deal. then if the government stands by and let's some charlatan
misappropriate that, that's harm, and it's harm to the courageous men and women who have earned these medals. >> warner: now, what did the lawyer for mr. alvarez say? after all, they won in the ninth circuit. >> he actually struged today with the questions from the justices. he started out by saying this law criminalizes pure speech, regardless of whether there is harm. and the justices asked him, well -- just kagan in particular said, well, what truthful speech does this law chill? and he made a rather amazing-- >> warner: which is a test for a first amendment case. >> absolutely. he say it may be that this law doesn't chill any speech. she said that's a big concession. but then he sort of backed down and he said he felt this law could cover things such as satire, parroty, other performances. >> warner: he thought this law could make those a crime? >> yes, yes, because satire
isn't truthful, neither it parody. he was pressed on was there another way congress could get at this problem? and he said, yes, want military could re-double its efforts in assuring the awards match the person who receives them. there were other ways. >> warner: let's to-- they actually had a ruling today in the montanaa power company versus state of montan case. these dams, some of them i gather have been on the rivers 100 years. why did this arise now? >> it's fascinating that title to the riverbeds in a number of states has not been disputed in court, for, in montana's case, over one hear years. this actually came up because a group of parents of school children concerned about state funding of education brought a lawsuit raising who suld really be getting rent from, for example, ppl montana, for using
these riverbeds? up to this point, the united states was getting the rent. so the court had to deal with how do you determine who has title? it has to be determined at the point of statehood for montana, that's 1889. and the state gets title to the riverbed if the river is nafiggable. the supreme court today-- it was a unanimous opinion by justice kennedy, said the montana supreme court used the wrong test. justice keedyaid you've got to look at the river segment by segment. these rivers had segments that were notinarigable. >> warner: that's when they became a state. >> and probably still are not, great falls on th falls on the i river. because they were not navigagl navigagle,. they were paying rent to the united states. >> warner: something like 29 other states waelged in on the state on montans side.
what are they worried abt? >> they're very concerned about a test like this that looks at a river segment by segment. they have, literally, thousands of leases out for public uses of their rivers. and the concern now is if you can take a segment away from state control, it can go to private control. they lose the lease money, and they're put in the awkward position of maybe having to negotiate with private owners. >> warner: why doesn't it just go to the federal government? >> it will go to the itself, but the state may try in some way to have aarrangement for public use. >> warner: all right, will, marcia, thank you, i guess this elect widely watched, as i said, in the american west. >> and certainly the stolen valor case, also. that drew a lot of attention from veterans and civil liberties groups on opposite sides. >> warner: when is a ruling expected on that? >> probably by june, late june. >> warner: we'll be watching with you. >> okay. >> warner: thanks, marcia.
>> you're welcome. >> brown: finally tonight, a new institution to help tell america's story. an official groundbreaking today marked a pivotal moment in a long journey to build the smithsonian's national museum of african american history and culture on the national mall in washington, d.c. given a final push by an act of congress in 2003 and now scheduled to open in 2015, it will stand next to the washington monument. and cost around $500 million, half covered by congress, half by private donations that are still being raised. lonnie bunch, a former curator at the smithsonian and president of the chicago historical society, is the museum's founding director. >> the greatest chasm that has divided us has been race. we want to create a museum that
will allow us to understand the full, rich diversity of america. and by doing that we want to create an opportunity for reconciliation and healing. so ultimately, while i want to do a great building, and great exhibitions and wonderful artifacts, i really want this museum to mean more. i have said i am not interested in creating an african american museum for african americans. what i'm interested in is taking this culture and using it as another lens on what it means to be an american. >> brown: to do that, the museum is collecting artifacts from far and wide to illustrate aspects of life and history from the african slave trade to our own time. some 25,000 items have already been acquired. among them a "spirit of tuskegee" world war ii biplane that was flown across country during a month long trip in august. the owner, a young air force captain, donated the plane, used to train the "tuskegee airmen" in the 1940s.
and the family of emmett till, the 14-year-old murdered in mississippi in 1955, donated the casket in which he was buried. there are other artifacts from historic figures: harriet tubman's hymnbook, rosa parks' dress. and many from popular culture: chuck berry's red cadillac, michael jacksons' fedora, louis armstrong's trumpet. but, the vast majority, says bunch, will be from the unheralded and everyday life. >> many museums start with thousands of objects. we started with zero. so what we had to do is think of different ways to suggest that most of the 20th century and most of the 19th century is still in the basements, attics and homes of people. so we created an array of programs where we've gone around the country and found amazing things. >> brown: when completed this new national museum will join some 300 other museums around the country devoted to african-
american history including the african american firefighter museum in los angeles, the wright museum of african- american history in detroit and the national civil rights museum in memphis. several new ones, including in atlanta and charleston, are underway. the new museum in washington will no doubt be the most prominent. and at today's ceremony, president obama spoke to its larger meaning. >> it's also fitting that this meum has found a home on the national mall. it was on this ground long ago that lives were once traded, where hundreds of thousands once marched for jobs and for freedom. it was here that the pillars of our democracy were built, often by black hands. that's why what we build here won't just be an achievement for our time, it will be a monument for all time. >> brown: when the museum opens, officials it to draw some three to four million visitors a year.
for more on this another museums and the quest to tell the african-american story. we're joined by isabel wilkerson pulitzer-prize winning journalist and author of the book: "the warmth of other suns: the epic story of america's great migration." isabel, it's good to talk to you again. it occurs to me you must have gathered many artifacts and lots of stories for your book. how do you define the importance of a national museum like this? >> well, i see it as representing an opportunity to understand the experiences of people who have been in this country for longer than there has even been a yiewt, and who have been central to its development. but who over the years and over the centuries have been marginalized. this is an opportunity for understanding and for healing, for all americans, and a sense of being able to understand and to see what the experiences of people have been like, and focusing beyond the big dates and the big names and the big here expose icons, and to see what it's like to humanize the
experiences of people. >> brown: that was interesting. we talk about the famous people and events, and lonnie bunch is talking about the stuff in people's attics and basements. that's what you're talking about? >> the idea that we are now two generations away from some of the harshest realities of a caste system known as jim crow that ruled the lives of so many americans in the south. and those people who are now the heirs, the people who are now the children and grandchildren of that era, are removed now from the most heartbreaking aspects of it and they have a tremendous amount of curiosity. they're also inheriting trunk loadloads and attics full of mem e'llia that they may not even understand or know exactly what it is. and there's this curiosity and a desire to know, a desire to understand. if you think about it, there's so much we don't know and can't possibly know because all of these things have been hidden in people's attics and in their
memories and this is a chance for an unfold are for all of us to appreciate and learn from and grow from. >> brown: i mentioned the hundreds of museums already out there, and a spate of new ones, including this one in washington. we mentioned atnta, charleston, d ere is o in jackson, mississippi, coming pup what accounts for that? what accounts for this sort of renaissance, if you will, of building and looking into this history in the last few years and in the years to come? >> again i think it's partly the fact that we have a generation that's removed now from the harshest aspects of it, and previous generations simply didn't talk about it. and & now their children and grandchildren are wanting to know. they have all these artifacts and they're figuring out what to do with them. i think one of the challenges and one of the joys, actually, of all of this is the greater awareness of the meaning and significance of little bits of memorabilia, old copies of long-gone periodicals and the green books that helped guide
african americans as they were making their way across the were they could not stop and aashiewrld of finding a place to rest or food. these things are now quite valued. when people discover them, they're trying to figure out what to do with them and now they have a place to take them. >> brown: you're talking about different generations. i assume one of the important issues here is civil rhts generationhat iseginning to passway. >> yes, with the passing of each generation, all these things become even more valuable. as we discovered-- in my own case, i've discovered things from my own farther who had been a tuskegee airman, and now there is a place to put these things. i think it raises the value and makes an awareness for people who maybe had not realized it before. it goes beyond just african americans. clearly, this is a recording o of-- and a saving and curating of american history, and i agree with the director that this has meaning far beyond just those people who are the it's people who are sifting through what they have in their attic.
it means something for the whole country. >> brown: speaking of that aspect of it-- and we did hear lonnie bunch talk about it-- but the question comes up and comes up every black history month, and here's a museum dedicated to black history, is it helpful to sort of put one set of history over here and in some ways apart from american history? we heard the director talking about how he doesn't see ithat way. it sounds like you don't, either. talk about that little bit of tension there that does come up. >> obviously, there are two schools of thought. i mean, one of them is that it's american history, so, clearly, it should be embedded and a part of all-- any reference to american history and american thought and culture. on the other hand, these things have been marginalized for so long that even now much of what we know about american measure african american history may be bits and pieces here and there so until get to a point where
ths history is fully embedded into all we know as american history there would still, you know, very likely be needed. one would hope and look forward to the day when it won't be necessary. >> brown: i guess another question that comes up with all the museums and new museum, whether there will be enough visit organize whether there's enough money to support all these places, enough artifacts for all these museums. is that something to worry about or just celebrate, i guess, at the moment? >> i think at this point, there is so much that people don't even know. they don't even know what it is that they have. they don't recogni if they come across a green book what that is and what the ssks of it is. i think the main concern and most important thing is to have something to curate to begin with, and the more awareness there is, the more people know about the-- a place to put them, there are now archival options for them. i think that that means that that's a good problem to have. >> brown: this is what you
found after your book, right, when you reached out and other people started sending you even more stories, i gather. >> i got letters. i continue to get letters. i continue to receive cawches now-defunct periodicals that were the mainstate for certain people, for african american in california. i receive these things and i, myself, don't know what to do with them. so i'm grateful to know that there many, many options now. >> brown: all right, this new museum opens in 2015. so there's some time and they'll be collecting artifacts up until then and after, no doubt. isabel wilkerson is the author of "the warmth of other suns." >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: seven people were shot dead and dozens more were wounded in protests in afghanistan after u.s. troops had burned copies of the koran. and president obama for cutting the corporate tax rate, in exchange for companies giving up
dozens of loopholes. online, we take a look back at a weight loss drug first approved for use 13 years ago. kwame holman explains. kwame? >> holman: on our health page, we exami how that history is shapg thf.d.a.'s debate on approving a new drug. judy filed a blog post reflecting on the intimate war reporting of marie colvin, the foreign correspondent killed in syria today. that's on the rundown. and on art beat, see a slideshow of photographs taken by mexican painter frida kahlo. the images are on exhibit in the united states for the first time. all that and more is on our web site: newshour.pbs.org. judy? >> woodruff: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on thursday, we'll have the latest on the presidential campaign, including excerpts from tonight's debate in arizona. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online. and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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